Flash Player ate all the pies!

I just checked out the latest Flash Player release candidate and was interested to see that the file size of the Mac and Linux versions are over 5.45Mb and 3.8Mb respectively. The PC version is still under 2Mb (which is very small for what it’s now capable of).

That got me to thinking about a few things. What were the average player sizes for the last few Flash Player releases? This led me to the Flash Player Archive page on the Adobe site. I downloaded the Flash 7, 8 and 9 archives and got to knocking up a quick average of the player sizes. Rather strangely there’s Linux releases in the Flash 7 archive but none in the Flash 8 archive (which I later discovered was due to there being no Flash Player 8 for linux per se as they went straight to 8.5)

Here’s the rough figures:

Note: I’m using the .zip, .exe, .hqx, .dmg or .tar.gz size not the actual size of the player inside the archive. Obviously this isn’t terribly scientific but I wanted to get a general guide to the increase in size of the actual single file end users have to download to install a player.

Flash 7 Flash 8 Flash 9 Flash 10
0.75Mb* 0.83Mb 1.33Mb 1.80Mb
0.69Mb 0.95Mb 1.43Mb 1.76Mb
Mac OS X
1.68Mb (PowerPC) 1.42Mb (PowerPC) 2.10Mb 5.45Mb
1.00Mb no stats available 2.83Mb 3.78Mb

* There was a 300Kb decrease in size from the initial release to the final release of this version of the Player

So that brings up a few questions. Why is the Flash Player 10 Mac release so much bigger than the Flash Player 9 one? Is there a lot more code optimisation still to do for this release?

The Linux version also seems to be getting bigger relative to the PC version. Is this because the PC version can utilise functionality already available to it in Windows, or…?

Is there a magical size that if the Flash Player were to exceed, users would be less inclined to download it? Or even if the Player was 10Mb it would still have the same penetration it currently enjoys?

Lots of things to ponder, and comments to make!

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5 thoughts on “Flash Player ate all the pies!”

  1. I know that Macromedia/Adobe were very cautious about changes to the player size. For a while during player 7 or 8 they were artificially inflating the download to see how it effected users. I’m sure from that data, they modified (or maybe quantified for the first time) how big the player could really get.

    As for the mac version, I suspect most of the boat is from the fact that its a Universal Binary, containing both PowerPC and Intel code.

  2. Thanks for clarifying some more regarding the Mac player Ian. I think your hunch is actually the reverse of what’s happened though. In the Flash Player 9 archive the Mac version went from being one version to two (at release 9r20). Release 9r28 had a PowerPC plugin (1.92Mb) and a separate Intel version (4.32Mb).

    The latest release (9r124) has a PowerPC plugin (2.29Mb) and a separate Intel version (5.04Mb)


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